First Edition. Scott H. Duvall calls this work a "ribald tract in which the pseudonymous author states that he prefers food and peace to hunger and the tumults of war," and Alain Mercier calls the book "...un catalogue inépuisable des néologismes les plus fous," and excerpts a bizarre exemplary paragraph. Neither scholar quite does justice to this absurd work, a veritable tour-de-force of strange coinages, evidently inspired by, and written in the putative voice of, Maitre Guillaume de Marchant de Louviers, the violent, brain-damaged, Protestant-loathing, cudgel-wielding court jester to Henry IV and Louis XIII. The text, run through with syntactically challenging diatribes on astrology, Protestants, and bad food, is most entertaining for its many sesquipedalian neologisms and portmanteaux. Some of our favorites are pantagonificantizer, planetiqueuse, gaillardifique, predictionnastique, and astronomiolifique, none of which ever entered the lexicon, and apparently bear witness only through this oddball pamphlet---even Google cannot pluck them out of the digital oblivion. The anonymous author was surely acquainted with the real Maître Guillaume, or could never have produced such a razor sendup of the infamous "Fou de roi." The conflict to which the narrator prefers peace and bacchanalia was likely the War of the Jülich Succession, a series of battles begun in 1609, which the Catholic side finally lost in the year this pamphlet was published. At least four issues of our book are known, with variable title-page settings and creative errors in pagination.
Octavo in half-sheets, 165 x 107 x 5 mm (binding), 162 x 106 x 2 mm (text block). A-D4; 1-24, 26-27, 27-32 pp. Modern pastiche binding of quarter calf over speckled-paper-covered boards, spine gilt and titled on maroon lettering-piece in second compartment: MAIS | GUIL. Interior: Leaves a bit toned, rectos foliated 118-132 (third leaf skipped); last three leaves with tail fore-corners torn away, far from text; D1 with revealing témoin. Good copy.
Duvall 929; Lindsay & Neu 3035 (not distinguishing between issues); Mercier, Alain La littérature facétieuse, 713; Savare, Jean, "Maître Guillaume, fils d'apothicaire et bouffon de roi," Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie, Vol 202, 1969, pp. 401-410; Dr. Doran, History of Court Fools, London: Bentley, 1858, pp 288-9.